CPA Firm Practice Management covers a wide array of topics from succession planning, human capital management and practice development. CPA Firm Practice Management also includes the use of marketing, like social media and SEO, and developing new clients. The Private Companies Practice Section is a membership section of the AICPA
consisting of public accounting firms. PCPS’s
mission is to make practicing CPAs and
their firms successful through education and
When people talk about
succession, they tend to focus on issues such as valuations, buyout amounts,
deferred compensation, partnership agreements, the development of new leaders
and client retention. Not much is said about the emotional side of succession.
Let’s face it: As with any transition, succession hurts. Owners struggle with
letting go of the business and the relationships they’ve built, and the new owners struggle to gain a foothold
in their new roles.
Even in a well-planned and
executed succession, there are a number of events and circumstances that cause
some level of discomfort. Succession tests
the personal and leadership strength of the outgoing owner and, when not recognized,
can deflate the excitement of the incoming owners and even threaten their future
success. If we acknowledge this side up front, we’ll be better able to set
ourselves on a smooth and successful journey. So, what tough challenges should
we prepare for on the road to succession?
Would you recommend the
CPA profession to your kid? This is a question I used to ask the partners of my
firm in Buffalo. I did our firm’s recruiting and felt this was an important
question, because every new hire was someone’s
kid. And in a small market like Buffalo, chances were, I actually knew their
parents. I had to look those parents in the eye and tell them that when their
child accepted a job with my firm, it was the right career move. I felt it was
important for the partners to understand, if there was something in the firm
that wasn’t good enough for their own kid, they had the power to fix it.
That same question
sparked some lively discussion when I posed it to a group at the AICPA’s E.D.G.E.
conference in Austin, Texas, this month. It goes without saying that the CPA
profession provides virtually unlimited opportunities, offering a solid set of
core competencies that can be put to work in a wide range of situations. Our
CPA training and credential have formed a solid stepping stone for many of us,
myself certainly included, to a very rewarding career.
Not too long ago, Gmail started rolling out a new layout which
features different tabs to group your emails. By default, Gmail users see three
tabs: Primary, Social and Promotions. Users can now find their emails on one of
these tabs, based on Gmail’s settings. This change doesn’t just affect Gmail
through your browser, but also through the Gmail app on your smartphone. (If
you access your Gmail through IMAP or Exchange settings on your smartphone, you
will still see all emails in one inbox.) Google says it made this
change to give users more control of their inbox.
Maybe it’s an inherent competitiveness
or just the pursuit of improvement, but it is commonplace for people to seek
out benchmarks that they can use to assess their relative position or
performance. It interests people to know how they compare to their peers.
Benchmarks have a place in business, too, and can be an invaluable instrument
to help business owners succeed.
Equipped with an intimate knowledge of
their clients’ finances, accountants are uniquely positioned to help their
business clients think strategically to achieve success. With assistance from
accurate and relevant data, accountants can help their business clients by comparing
their financial performance to the performance of their peers. This ability to effectively
benchmark is one way to
transition from a quarterly tax specialist to a trusted business adviser.
Assuming that accountants are able
to get their hands on reliable industry data,
it becomes necessary to isolate a few specific metrics that will be especially
useful across industries. While different industries and companies measure
success in their own unique ways, a few metrics are almost universally
indicative of a company’s financial health.
acquisitions and the many issues associated with turning a practice over to new
owners are hot topics right now. According to the 2013 PCPS CPA Firm Top Issues
succession planning was a concern for firms of all sizes. Practitioners are
aware that a proper transition of clients and staff is crucial, but it’s also
important to address questions about potential outstanding liabilities.
How are past claims against
a practice handled when one firm is sold or merged into another? I recently
received a call from a practitioner asking just that question. She was the sole
owner of a three-person firm who was selling to her two employees. She was
quite concerned that uncertainties about possible past liabilities might stand
in the way of the sale.